Meet Driver-Partners Kayla and Christopher

Meet Kayla and Christopher, Bay Area driver-partners who use the Uber platform to support their small businesses. We sat down with each to talk about their businesses as they ready for Small Business Saturday®, the day following Black Friday, when consumers are encouraged to shop local.

Christopher

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Slojoy Coffee Roasters

Why did you start driving with Uber?
I started driving Uber because I needed the flexibility in my week to be able to invest in my family, my business, and our church plant.

What’s the name and overall concept of your business?
Our business is called Slojoy Coffee Roasters. We hand roast our coffee in small batches — aiming to bring out the distinct tastes of each region and country. Our overall concept is to spread joy through good coffee and good works — giving back to Oakland, meeting needs and serving neighbors.

When did you start Slojoy?
We started Slojoy in October of 2014.
What was the inspiration behind Slojoy?
We fell in love with the world of coffee and finally tasted coffee that had flavor, beautiful layers of flavor. We wanted to bring that passion to others and make Slojoy an avenue for helping those in need in and around Oakland.
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How does Uber fit in your schedule?
Uber works great with my schedule because I am able to change week to week. My current schedule is working Tuesday and Wednesday for about 6 hours each day and then all day Friday. Those 3 days are able to take care of my bills and my family!

How has Uber played a role in the development of your business?
Uber has helped me put more time to our church plant and business by freeing up my already demanding schedule. I am able to keep a flexible schedule — meet new people, network, and have the necessary energy and time to grow the business.

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What does a day in your life look like?
If I am doing Uber, I get up, make coffee (that’s a duh!), try to read the Bible and head out to SF to drive around 6:30am — getting back around 12:30. Spend some time either roasting coffee or with people in Oakland for our church plant — either serving our neighbors, eating with friends or studying the Bible together!

What word of advice do you have for others who might be interested to start their own business?
If you aren’t willing to work the hardest you ever worked for the least amount of immediate payback — don’t do it. Starting a business takes an inward drive and passion that keeps you moving forward even when all the odds are stacked against you. Make sure you enjoy it and make sure it involves helping and loving others — if it’s only about you, it’s not worth the effort.

Major achievements or milestones in your career?
Having the opportunity to open a coffee shop in Oakland only a year after even thinking and dreaming of the idea of Slojoy. We are humbled and blessed to be able to have a location surrounded by a huge neighborhood of people.

Kayla

Enlightened Apparel

Why did you start driving with Uber?
I started driving with Uber a year and a half ago, when I was working full-time as an Executive Assistant. I decided it would be a fun way to make extra money on the weekends, so I could save up to travel. I also realized that I was spending too much money going out, so this way I was saving money, too. Definitely a win-win!

What’s the name and overall concept of your business?
My company is called Enlightened Apparel. We currently sell t-shirts with plans of expanding to other product lines. Our shirts feature sacred geometry and inspirational sayings such as “Trust the Journey” and “Be Present.” I’ve found affirmations to be very beneficial during my spiritual awakening and wanted to incorporate them into the brand and designs.

We also have a “Vegan” shirt for all the spiritual vegans out there. I’ve been vegan for almost 2 years now.

When did you start Enlightened Apparel?
The business started in July and we officially launched the website EnlightenedApparel.com in September.

What was the inspiration behind it?
My spiritual journey started about a year ago. I left my full-time job and decided to move to Thailand. The idea of Enlightened Apparel came to me during meditation before my move, even though I wanted to pursue it, I figured it would be best to wait until I returned home.

While traveling through Thailand all signs were pointing to Enlightened Apparel. I began developing the brand and designing the shirts while on the island of Koh Phangan and started the business as soon as I returned home in July. Honestly, everything fell into place for me, and I knew that this was my calling.

How does Uber fit in your schedule? 
Uber has been a great way for me to stay busy, and supplement my income. I prefer to work during the day.

How has Uber played a role in the development of your business?
Uber has been great for networking! My favorite part about Uber has always been meeting new people, you really never know who you’re going to meet. When I tell people about my business they’re very interested and supportive. I’ve had people give me feedback on my website, t-shirts designs, industry and marketing advice, and of course I’ve gained more followers on our social media accounts such as Instagram, @EnlightenedApparel.

What does a day in your life look like?
No day is ever the same, and I like it that way, routine drives me crazy lol. I usually spend my mornings making sure orders are fulfilled and work on marketing, then I head out and drive for Uber for 4-6 hours, and then head home in time for dinner.

What word of advice do you have for others who might be interested to start their own business?
Starting a business is easy, believing in yourself is the hard part. It’s been a huge learning experience for me, but luckily I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I refuse to let anyone bring me down. I knew I had a great idea so I went for it. Mediation is also key, so many answers can be found within. I hope if anything I inspire others to pursue their passion and dreams because we truly are capable of doing anything that we put our minds to.

Major achievements or milestones in your career?
I would say leaving my old career behind. I was a slave to my 50+ hour a week job and was extremely unhappy. Uber has helped me gain my life back — and gave me the free time to start my own company. It also forced me to wake up and begin my enlightened journey.

Enlightened Apparel is running a special through the holidays for all Uber partners and riders! Use the promo code UBER at checkout on EnlightenedApparel.com to receive 20% off your entire order.

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